Music City USA had made plenty of noise. Now the show will begin.
Major League Soccer is heading to Nashville.
A “major announcement” is scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn. with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, John R. Ingram from Nashville Soccer Holdings, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Megan Barry, the mayor of Nashville all in attendance.
Nashville being awarded a MLS expansion franchise is expected to be the announcement with the ownership group stumping up the $150 million expansion fee.
Nashville was one of four cities who were finalists for the next two MLS expansion franchises (including Sacramento, Cincinnati and Detroit) after 12 cities across the U.S. submitted their bids earlier in 2017.
With a rock solid ownership group including the Wilf family (also owners of the Minnesota Vikings) and John Ingram, plus plans for a soccer specific stadium close to downtown at the fairgrounds site, Nashville unexpectedly rocketed to the top of the expansion rankings on the back of success in hosting international games and preseason friendlies in recent months.
On the back of huge support for the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s Stanley Cup finals earlier this year, it was clear that everything is in place for an MLS team to thrive.
Sacramento and Cincinnati will lock horns for the final expansion spot dished out in this round, with Detroit seen as an outsider for the bid.
The future of David Beckham’s franchise in Miami remains up in the air with an ownership change earlier this month, with some suggesting that both Sacramento and Cincinnati should be awarded expansion franchises this time around.
Given the uncertain situation regarding the future of the Columbus Crew in Ohio as owner Anthony Precourt aims to move to Austin, Texas, the south east of the USA is fast becoming a key area for MLS with Atlanta and Orlando, plus a potential Miami franchise.
Two more expansion franchises are expected to be confirmed in 2019 as MLS pushes towards its goal of having 28 teams.